A few weeks ago, when I was visiting New York, I realized that I had left all my shirts behind in San Francisco, and instead showed up with a bunch of T-shirts. I realized my folly when on the phone with Matt Mullenweg and shared my lapse with him. Matt knows that I don’t much care for big brands and instead appreciate smaller, limited edition well made products. I find John Varvatos too mass-market. And he knows I am super picky and get into philosophical conversations about the choice of square buttons over round buttons.
So, Mullenweg recommended that since I was in Soho, I should stop by at this store called Jeremy Argyle, which is on Spring Street, just off West Broadway. And what a recommendation it turned out to be. The store itself isn’t spectacular as say a Bruno Cucinelli outposts or the Apple store. What it is – an old fashioned shirt store: well lit, sparse and yet with great focus on things that matter the most: shirts. Walk in, pause, look around and within a minute or two, you can assess the merchandise. The best way to describe it — utilitarian elegance.
But it was the shirts that I was after. And I wasn’t disappointed. As you might (or might not) know, I love checks and this place was full of them. Big bold checks, gingham checks, Charles of Wales checks, Plaids. Sure there were stripes, lots of them, but checks was what I was after. And there were so many choices in big bold colors, in combinations that I had not even imagined.
And yet, the selection wasn’t excessive – about three dozen styles. The focus is on making the shirts a little more limited edition. The store releases one new shirt a week. I like that and I hope I don’t see anyone wearing the purple-and-coral plaid shirt I ended up buying. It set me back by $148, which is pretty much the average for the store.
The fabrics are high quality and so is the construction. I found the fit to be a tad tight – remember I am blessed with a generous frame and good appetite. I went a size up, but found even that too tight so instead went two sizes up. I am going to have the arm-length tailored but I liked the shirt so much that I wore it that same day, with the sleeves rolled up.
The reason I had to buy the bigger size because Jeremy Argyle shirts are primarily European Cut and even their regular cut is more tailored. Unless you are skinny, I would recommend, getting a size or two larger. And the reason the shirts are “European” influenced is because the store’s owner, Brian Guttman is from Montreal.
During my shirt shopping, Brian told me that the name for the label comes from his middle name and the street he grew up on. I thought it was kinda cool. Guttman’s family has been in the clothing business for a long time and he started designing as a kid. And he started working on the shirts and the store a few years ago and opened the first outlet in 2009. He also opened an online store as well.
A friend of mine recently reflected that small business owners have a genuine pride in their product, something that is missing in venture funded companies. Brian was a good example of that and spent a lot of time helping me find the right shirt, talk about the shirts themselves and more importantly focused on one thing that is so hard to find in this world – happiness. He didn’t want to sell me anything if it wasn’t going to make me happy. So next time you are in New York, and have an hour to kill, go visit Jeremy Argyle. I know you will walk out with at least one shirt.